Jun 19, 2011

19 Principles of Recreation

These are Nineteen Principles of recreation from Howard Braucher, Secretary of the National Recreation Association in the mid-1930s.  I took these from Charles Smith's book, which I posted about here and here.  They are quite applicable to the children and adults of today, though there are new forms of recreation available today.  As you read, pretend that "man" means "adult".  Emphasis is mine: 

1) Every child needs to be exposed to the growth-giving activities that have brought satisfaction through the ages -- to climbing, chasing, tumbling; to tramping, swimming, dancing, skating, ball games; to singing, playing musical instruments, dramatizing; to making things with his hands, to working with sticks and stones and sand and water, to building and modeling; to caring for pets; to gardening, to nature; to trying simple scientific experiments; to learning team play, group activity and adventure, comradeship in doing things with others.

2) Every child needs to discover which activities give him personal satisfaction. In these activities he should be helped to develop the essential skills. Several of these activities should be of such a nature that he can keep them up in adult life.

3) Every man should have certain forms of recreation which require little space and which can be fitted into small fragments of time.

4) Every man needs to know well a certain limited number of indoor and outdoor games which he himself likes so that there will never be an occasion when he cannot think of anything to do.

5) Every man should be helped to form the habit of finding pleasure in reading.

6) Most men should know at least a few songs with good music so that they may sing when they feel like it.

7) Every man should be helped to learn how to make something of beauty in line, form, color, sound, or graceful use of his own body. At least he should find pleasre in what others do in painting, woodworking, sculpture, photography, if he cannot himself use these forms of expression.

8) Every man should be helped to form habits of being active, of breathing deeply in the sunlit outdoor air. Man thrives best in the sunlight. Since living, not business, is the end of life, our cities should be planned for living as well as for business and industry. Sunlight, air, open spaces, parks, playgrounds, in abundant measure are essentials to any living that is to give permanent satisfaction.

9) Every man should be encouraged to find one or more hobbies.

10) It is of the greatest importance that every person be exposed to rhythm bcause without rhythm man is incomplete.

11) About one year in every ten of a man's life is spent in eating. It is of fundamental importance that this one-tenth of a man's life shall be so lit up by play of mind upon mind that eating shall not be a hurried chore but an oppourunity for comradeship and for growth for the whole man. Eating should be a social occasion, in the home something of a ceremony.

12) Rest, repose, reflection, contemplation are in themselves a form of recreation and ought never to be crowded out by more active play.

13) Those recreation activities are most important which most completely command the individual so that he loses himself in them and gives all that he has and is to them.

14) Ultimate satisfaction in recreation comes only through one's own achievement of some kind.

15) The form of one's recreation as an adult, often, though not always, should be such as to use in part powers unused in the rest of one's life.

16) A man is successful in his recreation life in so far as the forms of activity he chooses create a play spirit, a humor, which to some extent pervades all his working hours, helping him to find enjoyment constantly in the little events of life.

17) The happy play of childhood is essential to normal growth. Normal men are most likely to grow from the children who have played well and happily. Normal men more easily continue normally as they keep up childhood habits of play.

18) Participation as a citizen in the cooperative building of a better way of life in which all may share is one of the most permanently satisfying forms of recreation.

19) That children and men and women may be more likely to live this kind of life, experience shows there is need for community action:
  • Every community needs a person, and an unpaid committee or board charged with thinking, planning, and working to provide opportunity for the best possible use of the leisure hours of men, women, and children.
  •  Community recreaion programs should continue throughout the year
  •  Support of community recreation proams should be through tax funds under some dpartment of the local government.
  •  Every community needs playgounds, parks, and recreation centers just as every city and town needs streets and sewers.
  •  Every community should provide opportunity for the children when they leave school to continue the musical and dramatic and other specialized recreation activities which they have enjoyed during school days.
  •  Community recreation progams should allow for a broad range of tastes and interests and varying degrees of mental and physical energy.
  • Every community needs persons trained to lead in recreation just as much as it needs persons trained in education.
  • Satisfying recreation, whether for the individual or for the community, involves careful planning.

The message I get from these principles in regards to role-playing games as they exist today are that RPGs are a great form of recreation for children and adults, but clearly should not be the sole form of a person's recreation.  Engage in live-action role-play.  There is joy in creation, storytelling, and community. 

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